villains versus antagonists

Came across this link on Facebook, where the Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin shared some tips for writing a successful fantasy series. What struck me the most was this:

We’re all grey and I think we all have the capacity in us to do heroic things and very selfish things. I think understanding that is how you create characters that really have some depth to them.

I have a character in Neverland who is the nicest, sweetest boy you can imagine.

This is who I have in mind when I write that character:

(You are not surprised, of course.)

But in the end, he serves as the antagonist to the protagonist’s journey in realising what or who is really important to her. Or at least, I intend for him to. (Yes, I’m being deliberately vague because I don’t like to reveal too much as I’m writing.) It’s the whole good intentions, bad decisions deal. Sometimes, what we think is the right thing comes through as the worst thing ever, and people start to doubt your true intentions.

Maybe it’s the same with antagonists. Maybe they started out as allies and friends but ended up thwarting the protagonist in her quest and is thus seen as an villains. Which is why I don’t use the term villain, but antagonist. Villains may be straight out unpleasant fellows that bring to mind someone like this:

Or this:

But antagonists are just people who get in the protagonist’s way because they each have conflicting agendas and quests.

Antagonists can look like any other person – they can be well-adjusted people who try to help everyone around them, but are considered “bad” only because the story is about the protagonist and the reader naturally roots for the latter.

Antagonists can come in the form of this:

(Yes, I’m still very much hung up on this character, though I’m not as devastated as I was before. Can we have an Heirs 2 just so we can see Young Do have his happy ending?)

Anyway, I just hope that comes through in my story. Now, enough rambling. Off to write!

(Quick update: 7,200 at last count. This word count is creeping up too slowly. But I shall, to quote a friend, keep on keeping on.)

((Wow, that’s a lot of parantheses in one short post.))